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Acute Otitis Media

What is Acute Otitis Media?

Otitis or acute otitis media, or more simply infection of the middle ear is common in children, and may come on in the middle of the night. It is occasionally described as a knife stabbing through the head. It may be very severe.

Often the child wakes up with an acutely painful ear, the pain coming from deep inside. There may be a fever, and small children may cry from the discomfort. Incidentally, it is also quite common if the child has been swimming in infected water. The germs invade the canal or the throat, and infection occurs from that side. It is important that backyard swimming pools be adequately sterilised. A fairly recent check in Sydney and Melbourne showed that up to 60 per cent of pools were not properly germ-free, simply because the owners had not carried out the instructions on the sterilising material properly. Too much is bad. Similarly, too little is also hazardous. It’s not hard to strike the happy medium.

Acute Otitis Media Causes

There are many causes. Commonly it tracks up from the back part of the throat and nose, perhaps during, or more likely several days or even weeks after, a simple sore throat or common cold. It may also follow sinusitis, or any of the infectious disorders, such as measles, mumps, rubella, tonsillitis or sinusitis.

Acute Otitis Media Treatment

It is well worth having the doctor check any ear pain, especially if it is related to a fever, or if it is worsening, or following some other type of infection.

It’s wise to have the doctor check an earache, especially if it worsens and there is a fever. Once again the physician will inspect the canal with the auriscope, and often the drum, normally a whitish, shiny colour, will be a fiery red. There may be swollen glands in front of or behind the ear, and a fever.

Usually antibiotics are prescribed. The semisynthetic penicillin (such as ampicillin or amoxycillin, or the cephalosporins) is often used with speedy results and excellent effect, but the doctor will decide what is best at the time. Infections in a district often run in a “fashion cycle,” and sometimes one particular antibiotic may be better than others.

Ear drops are not advised, for they do not help much. For pain relief and fevers, paracetamol elixir is effective and may be given with safety. Check the label for the dose that varies with age. Under no circumstances should anything be poked into the ear, unless under instruction from the physician.

Liver Disease

Some people turn yellow when their liver becomes infected. This is called jaundice, and it means that the liver cells have become infected and inflamed. A pigmented product called bilirubin that is produced in the liver and normally passed into the bowel for elimination is blocked as the inflamed cells and canals jam up.

More and more is channeled into the bloodstream, giving the skin and normally white parts of the body (such as the whites of the eyes) a yellowish tinge.

Liver Disease Causes

The most common type of liver disease is infectious hepatitis, or hepatitis A. It’s caused by a virus believed to be transmitted from infected fecal matter to food that subsequently finds its way into the system. Infectious particles of the hepatitis A virus are seen with the aid of an electron microscope. Symptoms can occur anywhere from 30 to 40 days after infection.

This is a similar kind, but it seems to act much more slowly, taking anywhere from 40 to 110 days (average 65 days) to produce symptoms. It is probably transmitted in a different way, and once it was believed to occur if infected needles or blood were used. Now researchers have found that the virus may be transmitted from person to person in a multitude of ways.

A product in the blood that pinpointed accurate diagnosis was first discovered in an Australian aboriginal, and for many years it was called Australian antigen. But now it is known as the hepatitis B (surface) antigen. When trying to confirm the diagnosis, doctors seek this particular element in the blood of the patient.

Liver Disease Symptoms

Often symptoms start abruptly, with fevers, headaches, aches and pains all over, loss of appetite and vomiting. After two to five days, a yellowing of the skin or eyes may occur, and this gives the signal that hepatitis may be present. However, this is not always so, and many cases occur in which there are only a few symptoms. Often the upper part of the abdomen is painful. This indicates the liver or spleen, two large organs tucked up under the ribs, are affected and swollen.

With symptoms of this kind, a wise parent will call the doctor. Diagnosis is often difficult, although if there is a local epidemic, it is much easier to predict. The doctor will most probably order special tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Liver Disease Treatment

There is no specific drug in use, but the doctor will give advice on the best routine to follow. Also, the doctor’s supervision is advisable, for serious complications may take place in which hospital care may become necessary. Fortunately the majority of cases does well with simple measures, and get well before long.

Reducing physical activity with a few days in bed gives the body’s recuperative powers the best chance to work at maximum capacity. Plenty of fluids, especially fruit juices with added powdered glucose D provide food in an easy digestible form and help allay nausea. Fluids help rid toxins and dead germs from the system. They also help reduce fevers. There are no strict food restrictions, but high-fat-content meals are usually unpalatable.

Most cases do well, especially those in whom the infection has been mild – this is so in most instances. However, hospital care is sometimes necessary, especially if symptoms are severe, and the youthful patient is not able to take normal food by mouth.

Hepatitis B is a far more severe and dangerous disorder, and the outlook is often much poorer.

A vaccine offering protection against hepatitis B is now available, and is given to persons at risk. The main risk is in mothers infecting their babies during pregnancy.

There is no vaccine for hepatitis A, but those coming into contact with the disease may gain protection by an injection of special serum containing the protective elements called gamma globulin. The doctor arranges this for you.

Pregnancy Nutrition Guide

As your pregnancy progresses the nutritional demands of your body increases. A look at these increasing needs by trimester can provide a good first insight.

Pregnancy First Trimester Nutrition

During the early weeks of pregnancy, you may not be aware of the baby with your body. Therefore, you should consume an adequate diet even before you become pregnant. Once you realize that you are pregnant, you may experience morning sickness, which tends to minimize thoughts of food. But even in pregnancy, you need to make sure that you eat a good diet. This can be difficult, since your nutritional requirements at this point are already the same as those for a non-pregnant woman, with the exception of the additional folic acid requirement.

Lack of certain nutrients in the diet, primarily vitamin B6, is thought to cause morning sickness. Morning sickness may also occur because of dime sugar after not eating all night. Some women experience nausea the day, however, especially if they go for long periods without. Many women find that natural remedies can bring relief from morning sickness. However, if natural remedies do not help you, and nausea and vomiting is a severe problem, your doctor can prescribe medication. Gratefully sickness usually disappears by the fourth month.

Pregnancy Second Trimester Nutrition

During the second trimester, nutritional needs increase, and you should begin additional calories, vitamins, and minerals by following a pregnancy diet. The baby puts on very little weight during the second However, the maternal tissues greatly increase. The woman begins putting down a store of fat for her body to utilize during lactation. Her uterus and breasts enlarge, the volume of amniotic fluid increases, the placenta in size, and the blood volume expands. Therefore, increased protein intakes are essential.

Pregnancy Third Trimester Nutrition

During the last trimester, the baby gains weight rapidly. His brain grows the last 2 months, and his liver stores up iron. Continue with your pregnancy diet during this time—and beyond, if you wish. You must take in sufficient calories and protein to ensure optimum nutrition of the baby’s brain and body. Dieting at this point is not beneficial for either of you, and fasting before doctor’s appointments to minimize Lam is foolish. Make certain that you eat well, and your weight gain will guarantee the health of both you and your baby.

If you experience increased swelling as your due date approaches, try adding more protein to your diet. In rare cases, swelling puts pressure on the nerves in the wrist, resulting in tingling, numbness, and pain in the hands. This is called carpal tunnel syndrome. Additional vitamin B6 may help relieve this condition or prevent its further development. The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome will gradually subside following delivery.

Facts About Archimedes

  • Archimedes (c.287-212Bc) was one of the first great scientists. He created the sciences of mechanics and hydrostatics.
  • Archimedes was a Greek who lived in the city of Syracuse, Sicily. His relative, Hieron II, was king of Syracuse.
  • Archimedes’ screw is a simple pump supposedly invented by Archimedes. It scoops up water with a spiral device that turns inside a tube. It is still used in the Middle East.
  • To help defend Syracuse against Roman attackers in 215Bc, Archimedes invented many war machines. They included an awesome ‘claw’ — a giant grappling crane that could lift whole galleys from the water and sink them.
  • Archimedes was killed by Roman soldiers when collaborators let the Romans into Syracuse in 212Bc.
  • Archimedes analysed levers mathematically. He showed that the load you can move with a particular effort is in exact proportion to its distance from the fulcrum.
  • Archimedes discovered that objects float because they are thrust upwards by the water.
  • Archimedes’ principle shows that the upthrust on a floating object is equal to the weight of the water that the object pushes out of the way.
  • Archimedes realized he could work out the density, or specific gravity, of an object by comparing the object’s weight to the weight of water it pushes out of a jar when completely submerged.
  • Archimedes used specific gravity to prove a sly goldsmith had not made King Hieron’s crown of pure gold.

Pelican Facts

  • The great white pelican catches about 1.2 kg of fish a day in its large throat pouch.
  • The brown pelican dives from a height of 15 m above the water to catch fish below the surface.
  • Great white pelican breeding colonies may number as many as 30,000 pairs of birds.
  • There are seven species of pelican. Most live and feed around fresh water, but the brown pelican is a seabird.
  • Pelicans are often found in large colonies, particularly during the breeding season.
  • A great white pelican comes in to land on the water.
  • One of the largest pelicans is the Australian pelican, which is up to 180 cm long and weighs about 15 kg.
  • The white pelican lays 1-2 eggs in a nest mound on the ground. Both parents help to incubate the eggs and care for the young.
  • Pelican chicks are able to stand at 3 weeks old and can fly at 7-10 weeks old.
  • In heraldry, a pelican is shown pecking its breast to feed its young on its blood. This may stem from the bird’s habit of resting its beak on its breast.
  • White pelicans work as a group to herd fish into a shoal by swimming around them in a horseshoe formation. Then they scoop up pouchfuls of fish with their large beaks.
  • In flight, a pelican flaps its wings 1.3 times a second. This is one of the slowest wingbeat speeds, when actively flying, of any bird.

Garden Facts

  • The ancient Chinese and Greeks grew fruit trees, vegetables and herbs in gardens for food and for medicines.
  • In the 1500s there were five famous botanical gardens in Europe designed to study and grow herbs for medicine.
  • The first botanical gardens were at Pisa (1543) and Padua (1545) in Italy.
  • Kew Gardens was once owned by the Royal Family, but since 1841 has been open to the public.
  • Carolus Clusius set up a famous flower garden in Leiden in Holland in the late 1500s. Here the first tulips from China were grown and the Dutch bulb industry began.
  • The most famous gardener of the 17th century was John Evelyn who set up a beautiful garden at Sayes Court in Deptford near London.
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew near London were made famous by Sir Joseph Banks in the late 1700s for their extensive collection of plants from around the world.
  • Today Kew Gardens has 33,400 classes of living plants and a herbarium of dried plants with 7 million species – that’s 98% of the world’s plants.
  • Plants such as rubber plants, pineapples, bananas, tea and coffee were spread around the world from Kew.
  • Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716-83) was a famous English landscape gardener. He got his nickname by telling clients that their gardens had excellent `capabilities’.
  • Ornamental gardens are ordinary flower gardens in which a variety of flowers are laid out in patterns that are pleasing to the eye.
  • Gardening has become one of the most popular of all pastimes.
  • All garden flowers are descended from plants that were once wild, but they have been bred over the centuries to produce flowers quite unlike their wild relatives.
  • Garden flowers like tea roses, created by crossbreeding two different species, are called hybrids.
  • Garden flowers tend to have bigger blooms and last for longer than their wild cousins.
  • By hybridization gardeners have created colours that are impossible naturally, such as black roses.
  • Ornamentals are flowers cultivated just for show.
  • Botanical gardens such as I hose at Kew, London, display collections of flowers from many parts of I he world.
  • I 8th-century botanist Carl Linnaeus made a clock by planting flowers that bloomed at different times of day.
  • The earliest flowerbeds were the borders of flower tufts Ancient Persians grew along pathways.
  • A herbaceous border is a traditional flowerbed that is planted with herbaceous perennial flowers such as delphiniums, chrysanthemums and primroses. It llowers year after year.
  • Herbaceous borders were invented by Kew gardener George Nicolson in the 1890s.

Sparrow Facts

  • More than 70% of all bird species – over 5,000 species altogether – are perching birds, or Passerines. They have feet with three toes pointing forwards and one backwards, to help them cling to a perch.
  • Perching birds build neat, small, cup-shaped nests.
  • Perching birds sing – this means that their call is not a single sound, but a sequence of musical notes.
  • Songbirds, such as thrushes, warblers and nightingales, are perching birds with especially attractive songs.
  • Usually only male songbirds sing – and mainly in the mating season, to warn off rivals and attract females.
  • Sparrows are small perching birds found in many parts of the world. Sparrows are seed-eaters with the house sparrow specializing in grain. Changes in farming practices are thought to account for this bird’s dramatic decline in numbers in Britain.
  • Starlings often gather on overhead cables ready to migrate.
  • Sparrows are small, plump birds, whose chirruping song is familiar almost everywhere.
  • Starlings are very common perching birds which often gather in huge flocks, either to feed or to roost.
  • All the millions of European starlings in North America are descended from 100 set free in New York’s Central Park in the 1890s.
  • Many perching birds, including mynahs, are talented mimics. The lyre bird of southeastern Australia can imitate car sirens and chainsaws, as well as other birds.
  • The red-billed quelea of Africa is the world’s most abundant bird. There are over 1.5 billion of them.

Flood Facts

  • A flood is when a river or the sea rises so much that it spills over the surrounding land.
  • River floods may occur after a period of prolonged heavy rain or after snow melts in spring.
  • Small floods are common; big floods are rare. So flood size is described in terms of frequency.
  • A two-year flood is a smallish flood that is likely to occur every two years. A 100-year flood is a big flood that is likely to occur once a century.
  • A flash flood occurs when a small stream changes to a raging torrent after heavy rain during a dry spell.
  • The 1993 flood on the Mississippi–Missouri caused damage of $15,000 million and made 75,000 homeless, despite massive flood control works in the 1930s.
  • The Hwang Ho river is called `China’s sorrow’ because its floods are so devastating.
  • Not all floods are bad. Before the Aswan Dam was built, Egyptian farmers relied on the yearly flooding of the River Nile to enrich the soil.
  • After the Netherlands was badly flooded by a North Sea surge in 1953, the Dutch embarked on the Delta project, one of the biggest flood control schemes in history.
  • Even when no one drowns, a flood can destroy homes and wash away soil from farmland, leaving it barren.

Galileo Galilei Facts

  • Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was a great Italian mathematician and astronomer.
  • Galileo was born in Pisa on 15 February 1564, in the same year as William Shakespeare.
  • The pendulum clock was invented by Galileo after watching a swinging lamp in Pisa Cathedral in 1583.
  • Galileo’s experiments with balls rolling down slopes laid the basis for our understanding of how gravity affects acceleration (speeding up).
  • Learning of the telescope’s invention, Galileo made his own to look at the Moon, Venus and Jupiter.
  • Galileo described his observations of space in a book called The Starry Messenger, published in 1613.
  • Through his telescope Galileo saw that Jupiter has four moons (see Jupiter’s Galilean moons). He also saw that Venus has phases (as our Moon does).
  • Jupiter’s moon and Venus’s phases were the first visible evidence of Copernicus’ theory that the Earth moves round the Sun. Galileo also believed this.
  • Galileo was declared a heretic in 1616 by the Catholic Church, for his support of Copernican theory. Later, threatened with torture, Galileo was forced to deny that the Earth orbits the Sun. Legend has it he muttered `eppur si muove’ (`yet it does move’) afterwards

Childhood Infectious Diseases

For nine months, baby has been quietly developing in his own little world. Then all of a sudden, this comes to an abrupt stop. He is born, and has to face the big, bright, clamouring universe where, before long, he will be on his own.

No wonder the poor little guy yells and screeches within moments of leaving his mum’s warm, cosy inside! There is nothing around him in the womb to make life difficult. There is plenty of good food to digest, coming via his blood system and thanks to the umbilical cord that attaches him to this seemingly endless supply of nourishment.

There are no germs to bug him, and there is plenty of oxygen to keep him fit and well. It is hoped that his mum is a non-smoker. Babies developing inside smoking women are deprived of much oxygen in the blood supply, and that is why these babies are often below their normal birth weight when born. Their chances of being healthy on arrival are much less – in fact many die along the way, or shortly after birth.

A baby is covered with a thick protective layer from his mother at birth. A baby’s skin is free from germs, and this layer of creamy material that looks a bit like butter (doctors call it vernix caseosa) is aimed at keeping him free from germs and invading bacteria.

But that doesn’t last for very long. It certainly does not. After his first bath, away comes the protective barrier cream. Suddenly his skin and his system in general, is exposed to the plethora of viruses and bacteria that surround us all day and night.

Within hours, he seems to have commenced his adaptation to his new environment. After a few days, he appears to be enjoying life. The transformation from his sea world to a place where he is surrounded by air, light and noise is rapid. He eats, sleeps and seems to be at peace with the world – at least for most of the time.

Luckily baby inherits a lot of protection from his mother. Otherwise he might not cope too well, especially in the first year or so of his new life.

Before birth, there is a close relationship between baby’s blood and his mother’s. Although the blood supplies are separate, and do not come into direct contact, food, oxygen and other essentials are transferred from mother’s blood to baby’s.

Among these are minute amounts of chemicals called antibodies. These are the system’s protective mechanism. Throughout life, mother has been exposed to a variety of germs and diseases. In fact, she has probably suffered from a great many, especially those that come along during childhood.

Such as measles, mumps and chickenpox? Right, plus a whole lot more. Dozens of them in fact. Each time a new infection attacks, her system has reacted and built up antibodies aimed at quelling the effect of the invading germs. Frequently, once these are in the system, they are present for keeps. That is why one attack of some illnesses (not all to be sure, but many) imparts a natural resistance to further attacks.

Fortunately, these antibodies are transferrable to the developing baby before birth. That is why, in the first 12 months after birth, baby has a remarkably high resistance to many of the common rampant childhood diseases during the first few years of life.